Fire Risk Assessment: The Five Step Method

By Liam Swann


A fire risk assessment may seem simple enough: a professional comes into a business to determine any potential hazards, and then every effort is made to reduce those hazards. This helps every business be as safe as possible. There is a bit more to one of these than simply giving a building a once over and then taking a few notes.

Most professionals prefer to use the five-step method during a fire risk assessment. This method guarantees that every fire risk assessment helps businesses to be safe and comply with regulations, and it helps make things more orderly for the professional that oversees completing it.


Step 1: Identify Hazards

The first step is to determine all the potential hazards. Hazards can involve anything that increases the chance of an emergency. For example, a restaurant manager that has a stack of papers next to a microwave may be identified as a hazard. Other examples of potential hazards that may be identified during one of these inspections include: restaurant equipment that splashes grease, electrical outlets, water splashing, and other things that simply increase the chances of an emergency happening.


Step 2: Identify People at Risk

During this part of the inspection, the professional will identify any people that may be in danger, or are more likely to be near the flames when an emergency happens. They will also list why they are, and what businesses can do to reduce that and keep them as safe as possible. While a person operating a piece of machinery at a glass blowing shop may be on this list, businesses can keep their employees safer by providing them with all the equipment that they need.


Step 3: Evaluate Any Dangers and Assess Existing Safety Measures

During this part of the inspection, professionals will take the time to look at all the equipment and other things in the establishment. First, they will look at things that can cause this by accident, such as toasters, stoves, and candles. They will then determine how likely those are to start a fire.

After that, the professional will determine if there is likely to be an accident because of certain things that the company does. For example, if employees allow waste to build up by a source of heat, this can create a hazard. So can electrical outlets that are not properly maintained.

After this, the professional will look at whether the business is likely to be a victim of a wilful act that will set the building ablaze, such as arson. This is usually relatively low, and how the professional determines this does tend to vary.

The professional will also consider existing precautions, whether or not they are effective and any other safety measures that are in place.


Step 4: Record Significant Findings, Assess and Plan

At this point in the fire risk assessment, the professional will take everything into account, determine an overall score, and then make plans with the business owner. They will usually tell them what they need to do to keep everyone in the business safe, and to comply with regulations if they are not. This part can be lengthy if there are several areas of concern.


Step 5: Periodic Review

This part is something that the professional must do, but often does not involve the business owner. Usually, it simply involves filling out the final paperwork, such as signing their name, stating the reason for the review, and then summarising all their findings. They will also include their name, position, and a few other things.

By following this five-step method, professionals are able to accurately determine the overall fire risk of a business during an assessment, and what they can do to make sure that their business has the lowest score that it possibly can. When businesses familiarise themselves with this process before the company doing the assessment gets there, they will know exactly what to expect, and some things they should look at before they get there.



SK Fire Protection is known for providing high quality event fire safety services including fire extinguishers for hire, safety signs for hire and professional risk assessments. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles are also available for hire, both of which come fully equipped and with a highly skilled team of trained staff that are capable of handling any emergency. SK Fire Protection also provides fire safety training for wardens and any other individuals that are interested in addition to routine fire extinguisher testing and fire extinguisher servicing. They are currently partnering with Help for Heroes to provide aid to members, and previous members, of the armed forces.